Last week we heard a quick news story on NPR: California is planning the nation's first ban on large screen televisions to curb energy use. We know that California is typically on the cutting edge of energy regulation, but of all things, limiting the size of TVs is a surprise to us.
On November 18th the California Energy Commission (CEC) is scheduled to vote on a proposal that would require by 2011 flat screen energy use be reduced to 30% of the power used today, and by 2013 the energy use would be reduced to 49%. The Consumer Electronics Association says the current CEC proposal would essentially ban the sale of all plasma TVs larger than 60-inches and 25-percent of all HDTVs currently on the market. The proposal is supported by Governor Schwarzenegger and PG&E, the major California electric utility.
Update: We received an email from Adam Gottlieb, the Media Manager for the CA Energy Commission, who stated that our assumption here was false. Here's what he has to say:
"The proposed TV energy efficiency standards by the California Energy Commission would mandate that televisions sold in California consume 33% less electricity by 2011 and 49% less electricity by 2013. (For example, a 42" inch screen would consume 183 watts by 2011 and 115 watts by 2013.) Consumers still have the choice to buy any size or type of TV they want. The proposed standards only addresses on TVs with a screen area less than or equal to 58 inches or less (1,400 square inches). Screens greater than 58 inches were exempted.
Today, Californians can choose from more than 1,000 energy efficient televisions of all sizes and types that meet the proposed 2011 standard and don't cost more than other models.
The proposed standards would save California consumers money ($8.1 billion over 10 years), conserve energy (powering 864,000 homes or 6,515 gigawatt hours), and achieve it with technology available today. It would also reduce carbon emissions by 3 million metric tons.
The proposed energy efficiency standards are technology neutral and performance-based.
The Commission has been working on these proposed regulations for the past 18 months. It has been an open public process and we are working with utilities, the television industry, environmental community, retailers, and consumer groups to develop these regulations.
Supporters include: The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), Environmental Defense Fund, Sierra Club, Environment California, three major California electric utility companies (Pacific Gas and Electric, San Diego Gas & Electric, and Southern California Edison); Vizio (The largest manufacturer of flat screen TVs in the nation) 3M; and the LCD Television Association."